The debate over which program will boast the nation's top backcourt this season typically has been between the likes of Memphis, Louisville, UConn and Oklahoma State.
It might be time to add Oregon to the list of top candidates.
The already guard-heavy Ducks added another perimeter weapon Friday when the NCAA granted Houston transfer Joseph Young a waiver to play immediately this season rather than having to sit out a full year. The premise for Young's hardship waiver was his father's departure from Houston after being reassigned from the director of basketball operations role he previously held to a community service position.
A father being offered a different job might seem like a modest case for a hardship waiver, but last year's Trey Zeigler waiver provides some precedent. The NCAA allowed Zeigler to play right away at Pittsburgh after Central Michigan fired his father Ernie as head coach. Young's case was murkier since his father technically wasn't fired at Houston, nor was he the head coach, but the NCAA apparently saw the need to protect the shooting guard from the potentially awkward situation he'd have faced had he remained with the Cougars.
Whatever the rationale for Young's waiver, the high-scoring 6-foot-2 junior's presence strengthens the argument Oregon is the biggest threat to Arizona in the Pac-12.
Young, a former top 100 recruit, averaged a team-high 18.0 points per game for Houston last season and shot 42.5 percent from behind the arc. The addition of him and Detroit transfer Jason Calliste gives an Oregon team that shot poorly from the perimeter last season two knock-down 3-point specialists.
Now that Young is available, the Ducks have ample weapons to play Dana Altman's preferred three-guard sets. Speedy sophomore Dominic Artis will likely start at point guard with Young and Damyean Dotson on the wings and Calliste and experienced distributor Johnathan Loyd coming off the bench.
The only question marks for Oregon are in the frontcourt, where the absence of Arsalan Kazemi, Carlos Emory and Tony Woods will be felt, especially on the glass.
Transfer Mike Moser has the potential to replace some of the scoring, rebounding and toughness Kazemi provided if he flourishes in Oregon's up-tempo system at power forward the way he did at UNLV two years ago. Returners Ben Carter and Waverly Austin will also be counted on for rebounding, defense and low-post scoring inside.
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